The diversity and size of Instagram’s audience are truly impressive.
To put it into perspective:
The platform’s monthly user base is equivalent to the combined population of Europe and North America.
That’s no small feat!
Instagram reports that 90% of their 2 billion monthly active users follow a business account. This statistic alone highlights the platform’s potential for businesses and influencers.
As the 4th most-used social media platform, Instagram hosts over 25 million businesses promoting their products and services. The platform’s popularity among businesses and influencers is evident in these figures. In essence, the opportunities for growth on Instagram are boundless.
The prospect of making money on Instagram is open to anyone willing to seize these opportunities. However, it’s important to note that success won’t happen overnight, especially if you’re starting with a small account. Prioritizing research and hard work is key to gradually growing your account and generating a substantial income.
Can You Make Money on Instagram?
Instagram has evolved from a simple photo-sharing app to a dynamic platform offering multiple avenues for monetization. Influencers, businesses, and creators alike are leveraging their follower base to earn income.
Sponsored posts are a standard method, where brands pay influencers to promote their products or services. Additionally, with the introduction of Instagram Shopping, businesses can directly sell products.
Affiliate marketing is another avenue, allowing users to earn commissions on sales generated through their referral links. Instagram’s “Paid Partnership” tag ensures transparency in sponsored content. Furthermore, many influencers offer paid virtual workshops, consultations, or sell digital products to their audience.
We’ll cover all of this more in detail below.
With dedication, quality content, and a strategic approach, not only can you make money on Instagram, but you can also build a sustainable income stream.
How to Make Money on Instagram
In this section, we will cover the various ways you can make money on this platform.
1. Affiliate Marketing
In affiliate marketing, you earn a commission whenever someone uses your link to buy a product or sign up for a free trial program.
To start affiliate marketing on Instagram, reach out directly to businesses you’d like to work with. Explain to them how your content relates to their offerings. Don’t forget to mention the potential you bring to their table with your Instagram following – the more, the merrier!
But as we mentioned earlier, businesses might contact you for an affiliate partnership even if you have a small account with a highly-engaged audience.
Joining an affiliate network is the easiest way to get started. Amazon Associates, one of the largest Instagram affiliate marketing programs, offers commissions of up to 20%.
Once you join an affiliate program, ensure your content and your audience relate to the product or service you promote.
Think about it – does it make sense to partner with a fashion brand if you’re a gaming content creator?
This cello player, for instance, is an affiliate marketer for Soundbrenner, a music tool brand. She makes money whenever her followers use her discount code to buy the tool.
Finally, place your affiliate links in your Instagram profile bio and on Stories, Reels, and posts for maximum visibility.
When sharing these links, a best practice is to disclose your affiliate partnerships to your audience. Being transparent with them increases their trust in your content and the more they trust you, the more likely they are to use your affiliate codes or links.
2. Sponsored Content
Sponsored content is content for which brands pay you. Not for nothing but to promote their products or services to an audience they might otherwise not have access to. In the example below, de Winton Paper Co, a watercolor stationery studio, partnered with Skillshare for one of their watercolor tutorials.
Like this example, sponsored posts usually have a “Paid partnership with [brand name]” tag below the username.
Keep posting unique content consistently and tag brands to get paid sponsorships.
Why not reach out to them yourself, too?
Look for brands in your niche that are likely to partner with you. Then, simply DM them, explaining why you’d like to partner with them. Also, mention what they can get out of the partnership. With ample followers and a strong average engagement rate, you can land paid gigs before you know it.
3. Selling Products or Services
One of the best ways of selling your products or services to your audience is by setting up an Instagram Shop.
What is this?
Think of it like a store where followers can explore products and buy directly from your posts and Stories without leaving the app.
You need an Instagram creator or business account for this (explained in the next section).
Want to set up your shop?
- Go to Settings > Set up Instagram Shopping.
- Enter your website, pick a checkout method, and select your sales channels (Instagram, Facebook, or both).
- Next, connect your account to your existing product catalog, which you can manage through Facebook or Shopify and other eCommerce platforms.
- Once products are added to your shop, preview the store to see if it looks good.
- Finally, submit it to Instagram for approval, which can take a few hours to up to two weeks.
You can start creating shoppable content the moment Instagram gives your shop the go-ahead. Shoppable content is content (posts, Stories, or Reels) where you can tag your products. Users can simply tap these product tags to learn more about the products.
Such posts come with a little shop icon. Funcult, a store selling fringe banners, uses shoppable posts like these to sell its products.
To hit it off with shoppable posts, select Tag products in the post editor while creating a post. Then, insert the product ID, choose a product of your Product Catalog, and publish the post after previewing it.
For shoppable Stories, create a Story and tap the Stickers option. You’ll find a Shopping sticker there to tag your product. After your Story is published, users can click on the product tags to visit the page.
Alyse Parfum’s Story does an excellent job promoting their product by sharing photos and adding a product tag.
Additionally, keep reminding followers to tap on the link in your bio whenever you post photos or videos about your products or services.
4. Offering Social Media Marketing Services
Ever thought of using your Instagram skills to help brands or other users grow their following on the platform?
The kind of Instagram marketing services you can offer are limitless. Depending on the client’s needs, of course.
You can manage your client’s Instagram account to schedule posts consistently and reply to comments. Besides publishing content, your client might ask you to create and edit photos and videos for posts, Stories, and Reels. As a bonus service, why not offer to write an engaging copy for each of their posts?
Building an Instagram strategy curated to their brand is another service you can provide, if you really know your stuff.
If this is what you’re considering offering to make a buck from Instagram, we highly recommend signing up for a spectacular social media management tool, and what better than SocialPilot!
SocialPilot is a comprehensive social media marketing tool that helps streamline your social media efforts. The tool allows scheduling and publishing posts across multiple platforms, offers robust analytics for performance tracking, and facilitates team collaboration.
Furthermore, the tool’s affordability and user-friendly interface make it an excellent choice for businesses and influencers looking to optimize their social media strategy.
Want to see SocialPilot in action?
Check out this video, giving you a complete overview of this amazing tool!
5. Utilizing Instagram Stories
One of the most engaging features of Instagram is its Stories, which come equipped with a variety of interactive stickers for enhanced engagement. Apart from the Shopping sticker, here are some others you can use to promote your brand:
This sticker allows your followers to ask questions about your products and your brand. The more they know about your brand, the more likely they are to connect with your Story and make a purchase!
Use the Poll sticker to engage your followers by asking them which of your products they prefer.
This sticker can be used to gauge your customers’ interest in your product or how satisfied they are with it.
Test your followers’ knowledge of your brand with the Quiz sticker.
This sticker is fun to use when you’re announcing a new product launch.
When people tap the link sticker on your Story, they can be directed to your Instagram Shop or your business website.
If you’re selling products at a fair or you have a brick-and-mortar store, you can use the Location sticker to direct viewers to your location.
In addition to stickers, Stories allow you to share user-generated content (UGC) about your products or services.
Stories like the one above show viewers how satisfied your customers are with your products or services.
Despite their short lifespan (24 hours), Stories are a great avenue for sharing limited-time offers. Plus, Instagram Story Highlights lets you pin your Stories to your profile to showcase your best content.
6. Leveraging Instagram Reels
Wondering how to make money on Instagram Reels for your business?
Reels are one of the best ways to boost your brand awareness and promote your products.
Viewers are shown Reels similar to the ones they’ve interacted with, meaning potential customers have higher chances of coming across your Reel and finding your brand, thus maximizing your brand’s visibility.
To increase your chances of going viral, create entertaining and informative content for your Reels.
If you’re partnering with a brand, invite them as a collaborator while posting your Reel. This way, you can extend your reach to the brand’s entire following, which translates into more engagement!
This Reel by Marco&Flo, a travel vlogging couple, is a great example of a collaboration with a brand.
7. Live Badges
Live Badges on Instagram have revolutionized how creators and brands interact with their audience, offering a dynamic avenue for monetization and engagement.
This feature empowers creators to earn directly from their live content and fosters a deeper connection with their viewers. It allows fans to purchase badges during live sessions, creators receive immediate validation of their content’s value, and viewers get a unique opportunity to stand out and show their support.
What does this mean for brands and businesses?
This is a golden opportunity to identify and collaborate with creators with a highly engaged audience, as purchasing badges can serve as a direct metric of engagement and viewer loyalty. These badges’ visibility during live sessions is a testament to the creator’s influence and the community’s enthusiasm, making it an attractive proposition for potential brand partnerships.
Moreover, the eligibility criteria set by Instagram ensure that the feature is accessible to a diverse range of creators, from rising stars to established influencers. This democratization of monetization ensures that even niche creators with a dedicated follower base can benefit.
An interesting example of this is fitness creator Charlee Atkins, who experienced a surge of support for her Live videos.
Recognizing this, she decided to further engage with her audience by enabling the Live Badges feature. This allowed her followers to show their appreciation and support her monetarily during her live sessions. By turning on badges, Charlee provided an avenue for her viewers to give back, enhancing the sense of community and support on her platform.
8. Partnering With Other Creators
Partnering with other creators on Instagram offers a unique blend of mutual growth, audience engagement, and content diversification.
When two creators collaborate, they tap into each other’s audiences, doubling their reach and introducing their content to new followers.
This strategy is not just about numbers.
It’s also about community-building. By sharing audiences, creators foster a sense of unity and shared interests among their followers.
An example of this is the “Collabs” feature on Instagram, which allows two accounts to co-author feed posts and Reels. This feature simplifies the collaboration process and provides a seamless way for brands and influencers to work together.
A collaboration post by influencer Waliya Najib and HERBeauty shows how such partnerships enhance content variety and boost engagement rates as followers from both accounts interact with the shared content.
9. Hosting Virtual Events or Webinars on Instagram
Instagram, known for its visual appeal and vast user base, provides an unparalleled opportunity for businesses to conduct webinars, product launches, or even workshops, reaching a global audience in real time. The beauty of these virtual events lies in their accessibility; they break geographical barriers, allowing a wider audience to participate.
Here’s what makes it more interesting:
For instance, during the COVID-19 pandemic, many live events, ranging from concerts to business conferences, were canceled. However, this led to a surge in virtual events. Instead of canceling their events, many businesses transitioned them to virtual platforms. One such example is the shift observed in trade shows, conferences, and seminars, which were reimagined as virtual events on platforms like Instagram.
The trend of virtual events was already on the rise even before the pandemic, and experts predict that this format will continue to dominate in the foreseeable future. The convenience of attending remotely and the potential to reach a broader audience make virtual events on Instagram a lucrative marketing strategy.
But there’s more:
Collaborations can extend beyond just posts. Account takeovers, for instance, are a low-commitment yet effective way for influencers to introduce their audience to a brand or another creator.
This involves one influencer temporarily “taking over” another’s account, usually for a day, to share content, insights, or promote specific products or events. Such takeovers provide fresh content for the audience and can significantly increase engagement, and follower count for both parties involved.
10. Loyalty Programs and Exclusive Deals for Instagram Followers:
Loyalty programs have always been a cornerstone for businesses to retain customers and foster brand loyalty. On Instagram, this strategy can be amplified.
Businesses can create a sense of exclusivity and belonging by offering exclusive deals or promotions specifically tailored for their Instagram followers. This incentivizes purchases and encourages more users to follow the brand, hoping to avail of these exclusive deals.
Moreover, such strategies can significantly boost a brand’s engagement rate. When followers feel they’re getting something special, they’re more likely to interact with the brand, share its content, and recommend it to others. This word-of-mouth marketing, especially on a platform as vast as Instagram, can lead to increased brand visibility and, consequently, higher sales.
An interesting example of this strategy in action is the beauty brand Hush Little Jane.
They effectively use their Instagram posts to guide users on how to earn their first reward. By providing a clear call to action, they walk users through the steps to immediately earn points. This not only incentivizes the user to engage with the brand but also educates them on the benefits of being a loyal follower.
Such strategies, when executed well, can turn casual followers into loyal customers, ensuring a steady revenue stream for businesses.
All these tips can only be put to use if you have an Instagram Business Profile. So, let’s figure out how we do that, shall we?
How to Set Up Your Instagram Business Profile
Simply follow these steps to start implementing the above tips on how to make money on Instagram.
- Tap the hamburger menu at the top right corner and go to Settings.
- Click Account type and tools.
- Next, click Switch to professional account.
- Identify yourself as a business owner or an individual creator from the list of suggestions, depending on your niche. Tap Done.
- Choose one between a business account and a creator account.
- Add your business’s contact details – address, email, and phone number. You can also enable your customers to start an audio call with you on Instagram.
Creating a business account gives you insights into your content’s reach and performance with Instagram Professional Dashboard (more on that later).
Let’s answer some questions that are definitely on your mind.
How Many Followers Do You Need to Make Money on Instagram?
The answer might surprise you – not as many as you might think.
All a brand cares about is how engaged your followers are. Thousands of followers who don’t react to your content aren’t going to be any good to them. So, whether you have 5k or 10k followers doesn’t matter to brands.
Even a small but engaged following of 1k people gives you the potential to start making money with Instagram.
So, on an average…
How Much Money Can You Make on Instagram?
According to Hopper HQ’s Instagram Rich List 2022, Lele Pons and Charli D’Amelio are two of the highest-paid non-celebrity influencers on Instagram. Each makes $264K per post now that they’ve made it to the mega-influencer tag from being micro-influencers once.
Tomi Obebe, a micro-influencer with 40k followers, made $167,000 in 2021 through affiliate marketing, brand promotions, and coaching for influencers.
Amber Broder, a skincare influencer, first partnered with a brand on Instagram in 2018, with only 700 followers! The partnership fetched her $50 for three posts. In 2020, with just over 2k followers, she made up to $120 per post and $75 per Reel.
All of this goes to show that the earning potential on Instagram can be quite substantial.
So, now we know that Instagram can be your full-time job, let’s look at some helpful tips for your to make money.
5 Helpful Tips to Make Money on Instagram
All of this information got you overwhelmed? Let’s make this simple by providing you with five tips on how you can make money off of Instagram.
1. Optimize Your Profile
As previously mentioned, driving traffic to your Instagram account is key. The first thing new visitors see when they land on your profile is your bio, so making a good first impression is crucial. Here are some SEO tricks to optimize your profile bio and improve your account’s search visibility:
- Create an easily searchable profile name or business name.
- Choose a username that’s relevant to your profile name and content.
- Your profile picture should be on-brand, preferably featuring your brand logo.
- Write an informative bio description (150 characters) speaking directly to your target audience.
- Include relevant search terms and keywords in your profile name and bio.
- Insert a link in your bio to drive users to your website or online store.
- Toggle on the Display contact info under Edit profile.
- Ensure your profile is public (in case you don’t have a creator or business account yet).
2. Create High-Quality Content
Why is high-quality content on Instagram so important?
By showcasing your best work on your profile, you can turn your profile into an amazing portfolio for your skills. This can open up several opportunities to collaborate with great brands on social media projects and get paid for your content.
Here are some tricks to help you create quality Instagram content:
- Choose a niche and stick to it. The more focused you stay on a particular niche, the more loyal and engaged your following can be. See how each post on the profile of Mikuri Murakami, a denim hat and bag seller, features her handmade products differently.
- Shoot creative photos in good lighting.
- Craft compelling captions that fit your posts.
- Write alt text containing keywords for every image to help your posts rank higher in the algorithm.
- Build and maintain the overall aesthetic of your feed, regardless of your niche. Notice how this candle brand maintains a definite color palette while sharing creative product shots and Reels.
3. Grow Your Following
Producing high-quality content on Instagram is important, but consistency makes all the difference. Regularly posting content that your audience will appreciate and connect with is essential.
However, that doesn’t mean you should keep posting just one type of content. If every post features photos of different bags, for instance, your followers will eventually get bored.
To keep your followers engaged, mix different kinds of content and incorporate various Instagram content formats. For example, a bakery brand might post an Instagram Reel one day, showing how to bake a chocolate cake. The next day, their single post might have multiple photos of their customers enjoying their chocolate cakes.
Once the Instagram algorithm notices you are creating content your audience engages with, it puts your posts in front of new audiences. That means a higher chance of gaining more followers!
To streamline this process and ensure posting consistently, consider using SocialPilot’s Scheduling and Publishing feature. With SocialPilot, you can plan and schedule diverse content in advance, ensuring you never miss a beat and always keep your audience engaged. This will ensure you won’t have to scramble for content last minute to keep your audience engaged.
4. Leverage Instagram Features
Make the most of your Instagram account with these features to make money:
- Pin your best content to the top of your profile grid.
- Use the auto-caption feature to convert your speech into captions for your Stories and Reels to improve accessibility.
- Stream Instagram Live videos to engage with your audience in real-time while revealing a new product or showing behind-the-scenes work.
- Engage with followers and other users by remixing their Reels.
- Use hashtags and location tags in your posts, Stories, and Reels.
- Schedule your posts in advance (available for business or creator accounts).
- Share product updates using Notes, which appear in your followers’ inboxes.
- Run Instagram Story and Reel ads to showcase your products and profile to a wider audience.
5. Learn from Instagram Analytics
How can you learn how to make money on Instagram if you don’t know what’s working on the platform and what’s not? This is where Instagram Insights hops into the scene.
This in-app tool provides a basic overview of your results for free within the app. To access the tool, go to Professional dashboard > Account insights > See all. You can view the total followers, engagements, accounts reached, and impressions.
Alternatively, click View Insights under each post in your feed to see the same analytics data.
All of this information helps you understand how well your content is performing. Producing more of the best-performing content will then help you increase engagement and earn money.
However, the tool is available only on mobile devices and provides limited analytics data. That’s why you need a robust analytics tool like SocialPilot, which offers more flexibility and detailed insights than Instagram Insights.
With the Instagram Analytics feature, you get an in-depth report on the most crucial metrics related to your content performance and audience behavior.
For example, you can see when followers are most active on Instagram. Then, publish your posts at that time for maximum engagement. The Stories performance report shows how many people have tapped forward and backward on your Stories and how many have exited them. You can fine-tune your Instagram strategy with such detailed analytics for better results.
Bonus Tip: Boost your organic followers on Instagram by drawing attention to your account. Stay updated with trending posts and Reels, and see if they can be adapted to your niche. Collaborate with brands and other influencers to expand your reach. Engage with your followers by replying to their comments and interacting with their content. This shows you care and can attract new followers.
Instagram is the perfect platform to turn your hobby into your passion and get paid for it. Whether you’re into glass painting or trying out the latest fashion trends, the key is to keep producing quality content.
By capitalizing on Instagram’s features, your content will attract more followers and keep them hooked. This, in turn, will give you a chance to get on the radars of relevant brands and partner with them.
Of course, all of this takes time, but always keep your eyes on the prize. Your time and efforts will pay off – literally in cash!